The household drama is fertile floor for storytelling. If you may get past the love-hate-relationship cliches, there’s ample room to discover the entire gamut of human feelings together with politics and social points.
This is what beloved exhibits comparable to This Is Us (2016 to current), Brothers And Sisters (2006 to 2011) and Roseanne (1988 to 1997) have all managed to do. And it’s on this house that Here And Now – from the Oscar-and Emmy-winning creator Alan Ball (American Beauty, 1999; Six Feet Under, 2001 to 2005) – units up its stall.
It gives a sweeping take a look at America’s fraying social tapestry, as seen by way of the eyes of a white couple, philosophy professor Greg Boatwright (Tim Robbins) and spouse Audrey Bayer (Holly Hunter), and their multi-coloured household.
There is Duc (Raymond Lee), whom they adopted as a toddler from Vietnam; Ashley (Jerrika Hinton), adopted from Liberia; Ramon, adopted from Colombia; and their youngest, Kristen (Sosie Bacon), their solely organic baby.
Family dynamics are thus a neat microcosm of liberal America’s struggles with race and identification politics.
The dad and mom love their youngsters, however the youngsters can not assist however really feel they’re being paraded as symbols of mum and pa’s progressiveness.
Duc and Ashley additionally discover their dad and mom have a neater time referring to their two white youngsters.
Kristen, in the meantime, feels painfully vanilla subsequent to her unique siblings and suppose they have it simpler due to it. Yet she is blind to how badly Ashley, a black lady, is handled in contrast along with her when the 2 are arrested following a skirmish.
Meanwhile, Greg is popping 60 and is within the throes of a mid-life meltdown, one which challenges his skilled philosophical defence of hedonism (residing within the “here and now”) in favour of an more and more pessimistic view of the human race and the liberal challenge.
VIEW IT / HERE AND NOW
From Monday on HBO GO (www.hbogoasia.sg)
And the most important wrinkle of all: Ramon is having unusual goals and visions, which can or is probably not all in his head.
Only 4 of the 10 episodes got to reviewers and the primary two episodes are promising – densely full of astute observations about race and identification that one doesn’t typically see.
There are delicate nods to the very fact Ashley married a white man, and a fleeting second in a bar that means Duc doesn’t like relationship Asian ladies, maybe out of a way of self-loathing.
There can also be an intriguing subplot involving comparable identification struggles inside the household of Ramon’s Muslim therapist.
But in episodes three and four, the present begins to lose momentum and feels considerably pedestrian.
The philosophical debates surrounding Greg’s work start to get repetitive and, with all of the build-up, there’s a distinct threat that Ramon’s visions will finish in an anticlimax.
It is anyone’s guess the place it’s all headed.
Altered Carbon, a cyberpunk thriller, is about in a dystopian future paying homage to Blade Runner (1982) and The Matrix movies (1999 and 2003).
Human consciousness can now be downloaded onto pc chips or “stacks”, and the our bodies that home them are just about interchangeable and known as “sleeves”.
After 250 years spent “asleep” in Alcatraz jail, a former elite soldier, Takeshi Kovacs, wakes as much as discover his thoughts has been downloaded into a brand new physique.
This was executed on the behest of the uber-rich Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy), who needs Kovacs to analyze his homicide – Bancroft’s physique was killed moments earlier than his thoughts or stack was backed as much as a satellite tv for pc, then downloaded once more into a brand new sleeve.
In flashbacks, the Japanese-Slovakian Takeshi is performed by two Asian-American actors, Byron Mann and Will Yun Lee.
But his thoughts is then conveniently decanted into the blond, buff body of actor Joel Kinnaman for many of the present – a la Scarlett Johansson in Ghost In The Shell (2017), the place her character is a Japanese lady in a white physique.
The conventionality of that casting transfer serves as a helpful metaphor for the collection as a complete. There are a couple of intriguing concepts within the premise – notably concerning the ethics and commodification of immortality, and the mind-body separation – however there isn’t a follow-through.
The present rapidly sinks right into a muddled morass of science-fiction and action-movie cliches that the expensive-looking manufacturing values can not rescue.
The remaining nail within the coffin is a few really terrible dialogue and appearing, which conspire to supply a number of groan-inducing performances, particularly by Martha Higareda, who performs Kovacs’ extremely annoying ally.
If solely we might obtain the DNA of the premise into a greater present.